Mule team standard

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N. Brian Huegel
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Mule team standard

Postby N. Brian Huegel » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:42 am

To all Mule Team members: I would like to put forth an idea regarding the development of a control or standardized model to be used in testing past, current and future Mule Team blade steels. I am seeking interest and opinions to encourage Spyderco to create a regular model for their line. Called the MULE (FB??P), it would use the current Mule blade pattern, standard VG-10 steel (or possibly S30V), have a FRN or G-10 (from Halpern Titanium?) bolt-on handles, and a Boltaron (or FRN) sheath. I think that the Mule is a great utility design that is not being used to its full potential.

In most traditional comparative testing, one uses a standard or control for comparison which this working utility knife would provide. In addition, by introducing a complete knife, the handle and sheath would be available for other Mule Team blades being easily interchanged to make everyday carry and testing more accessible. A regular model would also expose more ELU to the Mule Team project expanding greater participation and exchange of ideas and cutting experience. I value your comments and thoughts. How about it Sal?
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ricechrispy
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Postby ricechrispy » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:51 pm

I second that.
In chronological order:
Paramilitary 2, BD30P Manix 2, Delica 4, M390 Mule, XHP Military, Dragonfly 2, Woodcraft Mule, ZDP-189 Manbug, Cruwear Mule, Superleaf, Forum Native 5, Manix 2 XL, Endura 4

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Postby akaAK » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:53 pm

Absolutely fantastic idea. Putting together a sheath and handles (even the cost of ordering pre-made ones) is what has held me back from the mule team. Since I don't have alot of opportunity to carry one, these reasons were the tipping point.

Train
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Postby Train » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:45 pm

I was not aware that Spyderco has any difficulty selling Mules or is looking for the ways to increase their number. So why to make another product nearly identical: it will only canabalize volumes from the one you have already got and erode its image. There is already Mule and there is Temperance: which I think is quite close in shape but still not exactly the same. If to produce another fixed blade model: why not to make something new!
With pre-manufactured scales already available: what is the point? A sheath? Just wondering.

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tvenuto
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Postby tvenuto » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:57 pm

The idea of a "control group" is somewhat interesting, but as people will tell you, you'd really just be comparing this particular VG-10 with that particular new steel. I think user experience is the most important thing, and I don't think this requires "direct" side by side comparison. You probably already know how your two VG-10 knives dull and sharpen and cut, so it's more about how you like the new steel. Also, if you were to do this, would you really want to be swapping handles back and forth for your testing? Wouldn't you get yourself a set of scales for the mule so you could use both side by side anyway?

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Postby ricechrispy » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:31 pm

So here's what I would want: A cheaper stainless mule that is always available in the same steel. I think it'd be great for gifts since most people I would give a finished mule to would just like the handle I made for it and the fact that it's a sharp knife and not really care about the fact that I spent $75 on M390.
In chronological order:
Paramilitary 2, BD30P Manix 2, Delica 4, M390 Mule, XHP Military, Dragonfly 2, Woodcraft Mule, ZDP-189 Manbug, Cruwear Mule, Superleaf, Forum Native 5, Manix 2 XL, Endura 4

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Postby Sithus1966 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:10 pm

I think a regular run of the Mule would be great. Maybe something in a Carpenter steel so that it could be made in Golden.
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Pockets
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Postby Pockets » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:23 pm

What about making more of each run so that those of us who came late can still pick between a few different steels :rolleyes:

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ChapmanPreferred
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Postby ChapmanPreferred » Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:28 pm

I appreciate all that Brian brings to the table in this thread. I have appreciated the few posts from Brian that I have had opportunity to read. I wonder if the availability of a standard Mule in VG-10 or CPM-S30V in standard product which would be as available as say a Delica or Native Lightweight would a boost or derail the project. I think the concept of having a standard would aid in the comparison to product line staples, but I wonder if it would be too much of a tangent that would take away production time for the other Mule runs. There seemed to be a fairly long spance of time between the last two releases to me (at least I was having withdraw symptoms) and I would not want to cause similar or longer delays due to production limitations for future releases.

I admit coveting a Spyderco produced set of standard bolt on scales and sheath. This would take a lot of the guess work out for the folks who do not have time, skill or work space to produce their own set of scales and sheath. I know the Halperen Titanium scales and hardware take care of one of those issues, but the sheath (which would only work with the set of scales from Spyderco) would make life simpler for many. I'm guessing that the volume of sales for the "Mule scales and sheath kit" would not be substantial since one kit should meet the need for each customer, not always each Mule purchased. So I see the potential fiasco looming on the potentially blissful horizon for sales.

The more I ponder the question the more I think it would likely not be a fruitful financial move for Spyderco which could potentially drain the capital for the entire Mule Team experiment/experience. My bottom line is I would likely only buy one "Mule scales and sheath kit" myself.
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Postby Bladekeeper » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:08 pm

Although a bit off topic in regards to some body mentioning cheaper mules you guys in USA are lucky to get an elmax delivered to my door cost around $180 yet spyderco gain no more profit then the materials plus labour to get somebody to handle it and postage ended up at about $260 although it's worth it I love my spydies :)

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Brock O Lee
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Postby Brock O Lee » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:30 pm

Great idea Brian. I especially like the idea of ordering a mule kit (blade + sheath + scales + hardware) from the SFO. Although I like making my own scales, I do not always have the time or energy or materials available.
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Postby rycen » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:22 am

Doesn't that go against the concept of the Mule team project?
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Postby phillipsted » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:10 am

rycen wrote:Doesn't that go against the concept of the Mule team project?
I concur, rycen. The MuleTeam project is all about the steel.

Instead of a Mule Kit, why not just buy a Moran?

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Postby JLS » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:30 am

phillipsted wrote:I concur, rycen. The MuleTeam project is all about the steel.

Instead of a Mule Kit, why not just buy a Moran?

TedP
As much as I love my Mules and the whole Mule project, a Moran is a very similar size knife in a "baseline" steel that comes with a sheath. If you're not a real steel freak and don't want to deal with getting handles or a sheath done, it sounds like you want a Moran...or maybe a StreetBeat if you want something fancier. I've felt for years that the Moran was underrated as an all-around knife, even though I understand that's what Bill Moran had intended for the design. I think it was pigeon-holed as a "hunting knife" and it excels in that realm, but it doesn't stop there. Apparently, the USAF agreed with regards to the drop point Moran.

With regards to a "standard" mule, I see the appeal for some, but I'm not sure the market would support it and the releases of the test Mules. It would be nice to see another Mule that is under $50, but I don't have any steels to suggest for that project either. I enjoy my "cheap" Mules like the 52100 and 9Cr18MoV nearly as much as the S90V and M390, just for different reasons.
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Postby cckw » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:56 am

Count me out for this idea. I like the program exactly how it is.

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Postby rodloos » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:27 am

The only drawback to the Halpern Titanium scales, is that their website is down right now (you get an "under construction page) :) and that even when the site was up, once you decided what scales you wanted you had to call them to order. But the price is *very* reasonable ($20 to 40) especially when you consider that *includes* the mounting screws, and it was only $5 to ship no matter how many sets you bought.

I bought several of their different varieties. All were pretty comfortable to use, though I did find the $40 sculpted set the most comfortable. I didn't buy a set for *all* of my mules, because I still want to make my own scales for some of them. I've only made one set so far, and it feels comfortable but doesn't *look* as nice, I have a long way to go yet :D .

And I think Sal recently posted a suggestion regarding sheaths (same couple who make Spyderco's sheaths) I'll have to see if I can find the link, was it Scott and Christina? I think he had said that they had all of the Halpern scales so they could make a sheath without you having to send them the knife.
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Postby jtoler_9 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:48 am

rycen wrote:Doesn't that go against the concept of the Mule team project?
I have to agree also. You can always but whatever mule is currently out and have a set of reference scales from Halpern and get a ready made sheth from Christina. So what you are asking for kinda already exists. Asking Spyderco to sell it all seems like it would just drive the cost up more.

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Postby The Deacon » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:07 pm

Guess the most important question would be "what percentage of each of the Mules offered to date were purchased by folks who do (or really intend to do) comparative testing". As with most things, I could be wrong, but I suspect it's a fairly low number and would be considerably lower if we were to specify "scientifically sound comparative testing".
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Postby dbcad » Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:37 pm

The Deacon wrote:Guess the most important question would be "what percentage of each of the Mules offered to date were purchased by folks who do (or really intend to do) comparative testing". As with most things, I could be wrong, but I suspect it's a fairly low number and would be considerably lower if we were to specify "scientifically sound comparative testing".
I agree with Paul. I have 4 Mules because I like the blade shape and the solid feel of the type4 Halpern handles. I can tell some differences between the vg-10 and Superblue, but my inclinations are based on my segregated subjective use of the 3 materials. Not scientific at all.

I will say the Superblue holds an edge extremely well as does the M390. Both sharpen up easily, the Superblue especially so. The damascened vg-10 is the usual very solid vg-10. The harder steels will chip more, mostly by hitting bones in chicken and pork, but still keep cutting well beyond the vg-10. The vg-10 seems to be tougher, but maybe I'm just using it more cautiously :confused:

Other than that I can't offer too much more substantive information :p But I still enjoy the materials and discerning the differences between them.

I do have a user MT-07 which is probably a rarity so I have empathy for the OP's suggestion. An MT-07 is probably hard to come by at a decent price. For sheaths I have 2 from JLS which are quite nice :D as well as affordable, the other is a sheath I made by modifying a sheath for a Fallkniven H1.

For comparison purposes 3mm vg-10 with a very similar grind is available in a lot of folders. Wish the OP the best in his comparison search :)
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Postby JNewell » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:46 pm

Another issue is whether the numbers are there to support this. I'm surprised, but both the Cruware and most recent MT knives are still available, and the latest was a relatively small run (less than 400 knives). Possibly sales volume would be greater if they were distributed through the usual dealer network, but possibly not, or not enough to justify expansion...just a guess.


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